VW Brazils new I3 engine

VW Brazil's new I3 engine

The most modern Volkswagen engine has made its Brazil debut in the Fox BlueMotion, the fuel economy-focused version.

This is first three-cylinder, Otto cycle engine built in the country, although the I3 layout is shared by Hyundai’s HB20 engine, that is imported from South Korea for installation in locally made cars. 

The Fox engine is the same EA211-family powerplant used in the German made Up and will also power the enlarged and lightly repackaged Brazilian Up which will have more rear seat room.

Displacing 999cc/60.96cu in, and featuring 4 valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts with variable timing on intake and flexfuel ability, the I3 pumps out 80.9bhp on ethanol and 74bhp on petrol at 6,250rpm, the highest specific power output in the local industry. Maximum torque is 102Nm/75.2lb ft (ethanol) and 95.1Nm/70.1lb ft (petrol) at 3,000 through 3,800rpm.

Despite the high specific power output, it is among the most fuel-efficient engines ever built here. Fuel mileage under the US 75-equivalent Brazilian standard NBR 7024 is 12.7/14.4km/litre or 35.9/40.7mpg city/motorway (petrol) and 8.8/9.9km/litre/24.9/28.0mpg, respectively on ethanol. 

One of the highlights of the new all-aluminium I3 engine is a 24kg/53.9lb weight saving over the same displacement I4 EA111 with cast iron block that currently powers the entry-level Gol and the regular one-litre Fox.

Volkswagen said energetic efficiency in megajoules per kilometre is 17% better than regular the Fox when running on ethanol and 16% on petrol. Numbers in megajoules over distance bear the advantage of taking specific caloric values into account in order to achieve a fair comparison of fuel economy between the two fuels.

The BlueMotion version, as in Europe, includes other changes to enhance fuel economy.

The manual-only gearbox ratios were lengthened up to 10%, power steering is electro-hydraulic instead of hydraulic, narrow-section, low rolling resistance tyres inflated at 30% higher pressure (which required damper recalibration) were fitted and some aerodynamic changes included partially closing the front grille and new, airflow-friendly hubcaps.

The EA211 I3 is the first flex-fuel engine in this displacement bracket to be fitted with a cold start system for when the fuel tank contains ethanol only that dispenses with the need for petrol injection and its associated reservoir. In ambient temperatures below 18C/64F, ethanol is heated in a diesel engine-like glow plug device for such cold starts.